LOS ANGELES (CBS) — Autism insurance is now a reality in California.

Governor Jerry Brown has signed into a law a bill that will require health insurance companies in the state to cover treatment for autism and other severe behavioral disorders.

Families affected by autism say the bill will change their lives. Now insurance companies will have to provide the therapy children with autism need to function in school.

“The struggle that we had in getting the same therapy for our daughter was that nobody wanted to cover it,” said Corey Harris, a SoCal resident who has a son and daughter diagnosed with autism.

“Kyle is not receiving that therapy because he didn’t get it at the early intervention stage,” said Harris’s wife, Shamika.

The family could not afford the therapy for either of their children and found themselves unable to enroll their children in school.

“We home-schooled so neither of us work — and we can’t afford it.”

Until now, most health providers have offered limited, if any, coverage for some of the more serious behavioral problems– including autism. Treatment is often cost-prohibitive for many families.

“Thousands of kids are going to get the help they need to lead better lives,” said Sen. Darrell Steinberg (D), California, at a rally Sunday in Sacramento, celebrating the signing of the autism bill.

The bill will take effect in July 2012.

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  6. Jessi says:

    Thoughtful comments. Ultimately gouhth, anecdotal bashing of the insurance companies, that I know make easy and at times deserving targets, only points out where the reform ought to be directed, not to what should be replaced or scapegoated in the name of reform. Reform should not imperil the personal choice and freedom that your mother so elegantly seems to embody. If advocates for the proposed reform are really interested in where the fear of these measures originate, they must recognize that even if not stated explicitly, the proposals, if adopted, pose a serious threat to those who wish to remain in control of their own healthcare decisions. Focus on the uninsured and reforms to the system that protect the insured from manipulation by the insurers. None of this requires, public options, fines levied on individual citizens, or government panels making recommendations on treatments. Our nation and our free-market, capitalist system has taken a beating in recent years. But what remains unchanged is the fact that no other system in the history of the world has lifted so many people from poverty, provided so much opportunity for underprivileged, and a mechanism for health care, that although not perfect, has established a standard of care that most around the world envy. When reform initiatives are directed to curb the excesses or our system and place patient care as the priority, we will see a more unified approach to this issue.

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